Tuesday, March 07, 2006


I'm still playing catch-up, Bush, after nearly a week with virtually no access to news, other than the occasional glimpses of CNN in our hotel room in Mexico City and the international edition of a regional English-language newspaper. It's refreshing, really, to have to do without that fix. The hiatus reminds me of the great, yawning temptation to chuck it all in, to get on with the intimacy of my life and forget about all those things over which I have no control--including the actions of your good self and your Keystone Kops administration. How nice it would be to go to sleep and wake up when it's over.

Problem is, I can't be sure the world will be the same when your eight years are over. Okay, that's probably how you want it. But you persist in seeing a better world, where freedom and democracy spread magically across the globe, thanks to your enlightened policies; I see a worse one, where violence and chaos are let loose by your inability to see the consequences of your actions, and your blind belief in the rightness of America and its power. The line between self-righteousness and tyranny is a narrow one, and once you cross it there's the danger that you can't get back.

Did you catch the news about that teacher in Colorado, Bush? The one who tried to teach that very lesson to his class? A geography class, as I understand it. This teacher thought it important to convey to his students, in the context of comments about your State of the Union speech, that the attitudes and actions of this country and its president have consequences that affect the lives of people in other parts of the globe. In "comparing" you to Hitler--a phrase pumped up by the conservative media to whom this story was fed--he presumably wanted to suggest that your message that "I'm right, the rest of you are wrong" could be interpreted in the same way as Hitler's aggression. As you might expect, the man has been the target of a public lynching for his temerity in challenging your rectitude.

Today, too, I begin to hear a little more about your "spectacularly misconceived trip" (New York Times editorial this morning) to India and Pakistan. Your apparent blessing of India's nuclear program, and your refusal to extend this same approval to the Pakistani president could only be interpreted as a very public slap in the face for the man you have duplicitously courted as your ally in the war on terror. And that's not cricket, Bush. Whatever else you might say about him, Pervez Musharraf has stuck his neck out to support you at very real and very personal risk. Sometimes, even given the endless history of your gaffes, Bush, you still manage to amaze me with an ear that's totally deaf to anything but the sounds from inside your own head.

What's worrisome is that after all we've been through there's still no sense of perspective here, no sense that there's a broader, more comprehensive outlook on the world than the "war on terrorism", no understanding of the way in which your actions might be perceived by those who simply do not share your supporters' blind faith in you, and cause consequences that could, yes, no matter how unintentionally, be a dire as those of the hideous tyrant invoked by that Colorado high school teacher. All of which is why I can't just allow myself to go to sleep. Sad to say, that's exactly what too many complacent Germans did, those many years ago.


Fred Thompson said...

Not only is Bush's refusal to give a India style nuclear deal to Pakistan, a slap in the face to an ally, how does it play in Iran? Iran, after all, is a signatory to the non-proliferation treaty, and as such is specifically entitled to use nuclear power for peaceful means. Isn't this a double standard? You bet it is.

PK said...

You may have wanted to stay longer, but it's good to have you back:). Welcome home Peter.

PeterAtLarge said...

Thanks, PK. Thanks, Fred. Good to know I have friends! Best of everything, PaL

David said...

Welcome back Peter.

I assume the "war on terror" will be about as successful as the "war on drugs". Too bad the War President can't "just say no" to terrorism.